State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Author - SITR Alumni

3LAU VENUE CHANGE: Get your ass to Levels

In case you didn’t see our facebook/twitter post earlier, 3LAU will now be performing at Levels Night Club instead of Duo’s 2nd floor.

Here is what Duo had to say in regards to the venue change:

“In regards to the 3LAU show for this evening it is not being held at DUO. The show was never confirmed for our venue and we never posted or promoted the show on our behalf. We apologize for any inconvenience it may cause our fans. The event will be held at Levels tonight, we hold no ill will towards Limitless Entertainment and we wish them a successful show this evening.”

And there you have it! According to their facebook, Levels will also be providing free t-shirts for the first 50 people, hopefully you all have fun raging your face off despite all the confusion!

Staff Pick – Music I'm Thankful For: Papadosio

Papadosio @ RW2K12

I was introduced to Papadosio, a livetronica trance fusion band, for the first time at All Good Music Festival in the summer of 2011. I wasn’t even supposed to be there, but it was a great experience. It didn’t really hit me then how amazing they are until I continued to listen to their studio recordings. I don’t know exactly when my obsession began, but it may be attributed to finding out about Rootwire Art & Music Festival (or RW2K12). I stumbled upon it somehow and bought tickets about a week later. I knew almost none of the artists featured on the lineup, but it was headlined by Papadosio, it included a lot of crazy art, and it cost a mere $75. I can say now that was by far the best $75 I have ever spent, hands down. I went knowing very few artists and left with a long list of people to look into; not only musical artists but visionary artists as well. Everything about that weekend was perfect, carefree, and inspiring.

This summer, my friends and I saw a total of six Papadosio sets at three different venues. So, yeah, it sort of became an obsession, but for a band like this, you’d have to be pretty crazy to pass up seeing them live. Anthony Thogmartin, the lead vocalist, is an amazing human being. At RW2K12 my boyfriend and I saw him walking around one of the art tents early in the morning. I approached him, extremely nervous, and thanked him for the band’s first set. His response? “No, you’re great, thank you.”

Okay, so that doesn’t seem like a big deal on the surface, but I think he was genuinely thanking me for just being there. During a later set, he warned the audience that he was beginning to lose his voice, and asked us not to laugh at him if it cracked while he was singing. I had to laugh right then and there because my first thought was, “yeah right, everything about you is perfect.” I got to meet him for a second time after his show in Pittsburgh, and I got a little emotional. He looked at me with the kindest eyes, gave me a hug, and continuously thanked me for my kind words. I’m convinced he’s one of the humblest human beings on this planet. Don’t believe me? Check out his Facebook status from a few days ago.

Everything about Papadosio is beautiful and encouraging. The guys also really make the connection between spirituality, music, and art, which is something I find intriguing. I don’t really understand the spirituality side of things, but it is evident that the band has a certain passion for what they’re doing because of it. If you listen to the lyrics of their songs, they’re chalk full of meaning, and that is yet another reason I am thankful for their existence. They’ve left me speechless too many times for me to be able to think otherwise. Their music has helped me out a lot recently, and I know it will continue to do so for a long time. They’ve released their new album, T.E.T.I.O.S. (To End The Illusion Of Separation), which features a bunch of my favorite songs like “Right Now,” “The Direction Song,” and “Method of Control.” Listen to the album for yourself, but be sure to purchase your own copy because it includes 20 songs, each with their own unique piece of artwork.

Concert Review: Big Gigantic @ Mr. Smalls 11/04/12

Big Gigantic @ Mr. Smalls


Two Sundays ago, we arrived at Mr. Smalls in Millvale, PA just as electronic artist, GRiZ, was taking the stage. I had never seen him live before, but only heard great things. Staying true to his style, he played a unique blend of covers and original songs. In addition, he busted out the saxophone, making him a perfect opener for Big Gigantic.

Big G is another livetronica duo whose live show is never one to miss out on. Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken bring the rowdiness of an electronic show on top of the ingenuity of a live music act. What sets them apart from the rest are Lalli’s impressive saxophone riffs and Salken’s upbeat drumlines.

Jeremy Salken

By the time GRiZ’s set was over, the small venue was completely packed with fans waiting in anticipation for Lalli and Salken to take the stage. They opened up with “Rise And Shine,” a banger off of their newest album, Nocturnal. A large portion of their set consisted of songs from this album, including “Stronger,” “The Uprising,” and “Its Goin’ Down.” A few other favorites were played like “Notorious Thugs” and “I Need a Dollar.” They even threw in a couple new songs, including a remix of Jay-Z’s “Can I Get A…”

Mr. Smalls used to be an old church, but is now one of the more personal venues in Pittsburgh. It gets a great traffic of a large range of live music acts. It is always a treat to see one of your favorite bands in such a small space, giving you that extremely personal vibe. Whether playing at a music festival for a crowd of thousands, or a packed venue that only holds a few hundred people, Lalli and Salken still bring the intensity that comes along with their fusion of jazz and electronic styles.

Dominic Lalli

In accordance with the passing of Amendment 64, the duo released a new jam, dubbed “Colorado Mountain High,” which you can check out below! Along with their new release, Big Gigantic recently announced they will be joining giants of the electronic music scene, Bassnectar and Pretty Lights on December 28th at the Hampton Coliseum in Virginia right before their Uprising Tour comes to a close at their NYE show at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. Check out their tour dates, merchandise, and free downloads at 

Want to see some more photos from the show? Check them out on our Facebook page!

Listen to “Colorado Mountain High” here:

Meditations on "Mediations on Calabria" by Atomisk & Tawa

Andy Fitton & Keegan Tawa

Today we get to indulge in a new release from local talent, Atomisk (Andy Fitton) and Tawa (Keegan Tawa). The piece, titled “Meditations on Calabria,” has been in the works for some time, and each of the guys have put in a substantial amount of work perfecting it. The journey to creating the piece began this past spring after Tawa played Movin’ On, a free music festival held every year here at Penn State. He received a very critical review, in which a writer from a local organization claimed that his live act lacked talent, and dismissed his originality, contesting that it was a bad rip-off of a song released in 2007, titled “Calabria.” That particular song was not actually his influence (it was “Awooga” by Calvin Harris), and for that reason, Tawa thought he would amuse the idea by creating an actual remix of “Calabria,” to show how he would execute it.

What started off as a joke, turned into the original piece we can hear today. Tawa stated that through working on it, it became “a whole exploration of all these musical ideas I had bouncing around.” After around sixty hours of writing the piece, Tawa presented it to Fitton, who originally hated it. This is when the real collaboration began, and the two put in another forty or so hours of writing, restructuring the entire song. From there, Fitton worked on the sound engineering (the synths and drops), while Tawa recorded the live instruments, and it was all made possible thanks to the beast, Yamamoto. At first, technical difficulties hung them up, but Yamamoto, the supercomputer that Tawa built with his bare hands, really made the intricacies of “Meditation on Calabria” possible.

While listening, it is important to realize that the only sample taken from the original is two bars of vocals. Literally everything surrounding it was created by Atomisk and Tawa on their own. “This song is all about new ideas,” said Tawa. “It was me originally trying to branch into new sounds and synthesis while retaining my basis of style: jazz nuances and like, a lot of rock ideas…while branching out into wild synthesizer ideas that I’ve never used before…and there’s a lot of sax work in it…So it really is our own style entirely. It’s the maturation of my style and Andy’s style together.” With access to Yamamoto, Fitton has been able to do much more in terms of production, resulting in a more professional sound.

So many things surrounding us every day influence us, but when you make those things your own by incorporating your personal style and ideas, you’re creating art. As far as I’m concerned, this piece of work is art in its truest form. Influenced by a misinformed review and a popular song, Andy Fitton and Keegan Tawa turned that experience around and created something completely original. Their sounds developed separately as well as in conjunction with one another through the production of “Meditations on Calabria.” You can count on hearing much more from the Atomisk X Tawa duo, including their next release, “Yamamoto.”

For now, check out “Meditations on Calabria” for yourself and be sure to stop by The State Theatre tonight for the Community Help Centre’s Sound Relief to see Atomisk and Tawa perform live along with other local talent!

Concert Review: EOTO at The Rex Theater 10/26/12

The Rex Theater

EOTO @ The Rex Theater

A few things you could find at The Rex Theater this past Friday night: juggalos, Travis’ rage face, screaming fans, Hann in a coconut bra, and yes, of course, the djembe. The livetronica improv duo, EOTO, made the two and a half hour drive from State College to Pittsburgh extremely worthwhile. I was worried that changes to one of my favorite venues would mess up the night for me and anyone else under 21, but I was glad to see that things were different this past weekend. I’m almost positive these guys simply can’t disappoint their audience because they just don’t know how.

A few weekends ago, I was at The Rex Theater and I couldn’t have been more disappointed in the atmosphere. Upon walking into the stage area, I saw a mesh screen about seven feet high that started at the door, and slanted diagonally to the left so that if you weren’t 21 years old, you couldn’t stand in front of any part of the stage, your view was crowded by the fence, and you were cramped into a space that was a quarter of the size of the stage area. I was livid. Half of the experience of a live music show is being a part of the crowd, being able to dance around, and therefore be a part of the music. I was worried that the same fence would be up for the EOTO show, but I was glad to see that it had been reduced to a waist-high railing that actually split the crowd in half.

For a show like EOTO, at a venue like The Rex, you’ve got to have space to get weird and dance around. There are a lot of qualities that come together to make The Rex my favorite venue, but the best part is being able to get so close you can see the expressions on the faces of the artists playing. With EOTO, since the front part of the lotus couldn’t fit on the stage, you could stand at their feet and look up right into their eyes. It was clear that these two absolutely love what they’re doing for us. Their music (like my dancing, but a lot better) is purely improvisational. That means that they’ve got to be extremely familiar with all different styles of music and the equipment that they use to make that music. They’re constantly changing their pace in order to literally keep the audience on their feet. The energy in the room was high; Travis’ rage face was on, and he was dancing and wobbling around his intricate equipment, really feeling what they were creating. Hann, with a huge smile on his face, was beating away at the drums while laying down some awesome vocals.

In the middle of the show, they took a half an hour break, only to come back with an even more intense and mind-blowing set. Jason played a fierce solo on his djembe (a type of bongo-like drum) and I thought it was never going to end. I can truthfully speak for everyone there, though, when I say we didn’t want it to ever stop. There was not a minute of the entire show that my friends and I weren’t dancing hard. They came back to play a ridiculous encore. Ridiculous, not only because of the musical content, but also because Travis was wearing a blond woman’s wig, and Hann had adorned a hat and a coconut bra; pieces of costumes donated to them from audience members dressed up for Halloweekend.

I think the ingenuity of EOTO is unbelievable, and that’s what makes the shows so special. They are all improvised, all the time. You can see everything they’re doing as they’re doing it. Unlike many electronic artists, they don’t just press play and bobble around to make it look like they’re laying down the beats. EOTO actually lays down the beats, one at a time, and you get to see the process of it being created right in front of you. As Travis twists a knob or presses on his Kaosillator, you hear the corresponding synths and the glitches. As Hann speaks into his headset, hand touching his iPad, you realize that weird sounding voice actually belongs to him. You see the process in which they create each noise at the exact moment they’re being created. Through these EOTO articles and the interview, I’ve been having trouble being able to describe exactly what they are, exactly what the experience of a EOTO show is like. I still don’t think I’ve been able to achieve that kind of explanation, but regardless, I seriously recommend that you find out firsthand. Not only is their music genuine, they seem to be pretty genuine themselves, and I am grateful to interact with them and to be able to cover what they’re doing.

The recording of Friday’s show has yet to be posted, but look out for it on 

Check out my interview with Jason Hann

Also, you can find more pictures of the show on our Facebook page!

Michael Travis

Michael Travis & Jason Hann 10/26/12

Jason Hann

Winter Jam Tour Spectacular!

It’s that time again! The #1 tour in the world (for two years in a row) is coming to the Bryce Jordan Center on January 18th at 7pm! Featuring artists like TobyMac, RED, Matthew West, Jamie Grace, NewSong, Sidewalk Prophets, Royal Tailor, Jason Castro, OBB, and Capital Kings, it’s sure to be an event you don’t want to miss! No tickets necessary–just pay $10 to enter! The doors open at 4:30pm for JAM NATION and 6pm for everyone else.